Improved sampling by otter trawls, ships that are capable of sampling deeper waters, submersible observations, visual observations and published studies reveal 244 additional fish species inhabit estuarine to 2,000+ m ocean water depths off North Carolina.
Schwartz (1989) listed 685 species of fishes within 149 families occurring from estuaries to 600 m water depths of the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina by faunal composition, physical provinces, depth distribution, habitat preference, type of fish and type of movement. Since then, because of improved sampling with otter trawls, ships that are capable of sampling deep waters, submersible observations, visual observations, and published regional papers, I now report 244 additional fish species within 92 fish families inhabiting the sounds to 2,000+ m depths off North Carolina (Table 1). I do not include species that have simply been reported having a north/south or worldwide distribution unless known captured specimens exist from State waters. The Literature Cited entries have been selected to include the most important references, although many other papers may mention a particular species found in this list. These are: McEachran and Fechhelm (1998, 2005); Munroe (1998); Clarke (2000); Collette and Klein - MacPhee (2002); Carpenter (2003a,b); Moore et al. (2003); Ross and Rhode (2003); Quatrini et al. (2004) and Ross et al. (2007). Papers dealing with new descriptions are: Nakabo and Hartel (1999); Sutton and Hartel (2004); McCosker and Ross (2007); Kenaley (2007) and Fernholm and Quattrini (2008). Revisionary works are: Caruso (1989); Smith (1989); Harold (1999) and Zahuranec (2000). Papers noting species new to the area are: Schwartz (1990, 1993a,b, 2003, 2011); Schwartz et al. (1995). Pine et al. (2005) reported the introduction of the flathead catfish, Pyliodictus olivaris, into coastal North Carolina rivers while Hare and Whitford (2003) documented the establishment of the invasive lionfish Pterois volitans in coastal and deep ocean waters off North Carolina. Nelson (2006) and Nelson et al. (2004) noted that several species name changes are necessary for some species in Schwartz (1989) and this new list. Captures of additional species off North Carolina awaits additional effort and more intensive area sampling.